Saturday, August 23, 2008

Last Day at Shea

Tonight's victory against the Astros will most likely be the final game I go to at Shea Stadium. I have to be happy with the way it worked out: a Santana v. Oswalt matchup, the return of Ryan Church from the DL (which included a 2-minute standing ovation when it came time for his first at-bat, in which he hit an infield single), and a Mets victory. The last homerun I'll ever see in-person at Shea Stadium was hit by Brian Schneider off Oswalt immediately following Church's single. The last out was recorded by Luis Ayala (which capped off two perfect innings by the normally-nerve-racking Mets 'pen). And most importantly, the Mets sit in first place as I walked away from Shea Stadium for the last time.

Goodbye, Shea.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Two Good Notes for the Rays

Steve is incredibly still unavailable to write about the incredible season his Rays are having, so it once again falls on me to do so.

Today, the Rays won for the 71st time this season. This sets a new franchise record for wins in a season, and it is only August 10th. The Rays still may not make the playoffs; the BoSox are hanging around and the Yanks aren't dead yet. But this will be a season for the Rays fans like Steve to remember for a long time -- the first time this franchise has put together a competitive team for late in the season.

Another feel good story came out of the Rays' victory today. Rocco Baldelli made his first appearence in the Majors since being diagnosed with a rare muscle fatigue disorder. He picked up a hit in his second at-bat. Baldelli is unlikely to crack the regular starting lineup for this solid Rays team, but seeing him back in the boxscore after years of injury problems and this newly discovered disease is a pleasant sight that ranks close to the returns of Jon Lester and Doug Davis (from a baseball point of view, at least.... I don't mean to say that his fatigue disorder was as distressing as cancer).


As for the other half of this blog's subject: the Mets -- well, they lost an ugly one today against the Marlins, and currently sit 2 games behind the Phillies and 1/2 game ahead of the Marlins.

Go Mets and Rays!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

RIP: Hope for Aaron Heilman

All hope for Aaron Heilman among Mets fans passed away today after a lengthy struggle. Doubts first surfaced in the minds of Mets fans a few years ago, when Heilman was first transferred from the rotation to the bullpen. Fans watched in agony as Heilman suffered through repeated walks, hard hits, and scoring inherited runners. All of these are common symptoms of Inaffective Reliever Syndrome (IRS), which will from now on be called Aaron Heilman Syndrome. Heilman seemed to be recovering from the illness in the final three weeks before the All-Star Break. However, after the 3 day rest, the disease clearly returned in Cincinatti.

Hope in Aaron Heilman is survived by Hope in Duaner Sanchez, Joe Smith, Scott Schoeneweiss, Carlos Muniz, Pedro Feliciano and Billy Wagner. However, Schoeneweiss showed signs of an onset of the disease during his time on the mound following Heilman.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I called it!

I said to the people around me that Wagner was going to blow the lead in the All-Star Game if he didn't come in for the save in the 9th. We Mets fans know there are two things Wagner always finds a way to blow: coming in in the 8th inning, and coming in in a non-save situation. Well, manager Clint Hurdle decided the Phillies' Brad Lidge was going to be the NL closer, and brought Billy in to pitch the last out of the 8th (that's right; only one out). And, well, Billy blew it. He allowed a single to Grady Sizemore. With Evan Longoria pinch-hitting for Milton Bradley, Sizemore then stole second base without a throw. Then, well, Longoria hit a ground-rule double to left to bring him in. So the Rays half of this blog-writing team got the better of the All-Star Game. But I blame Clint Hurdle. He's obviously never seen Wagner pitch in an 8th inning. the way, the Yankee Stadium people did not play "Enter Sandman" when Wagner entered the game. As I write this, Mariano Rivera is jogging to the mound with the song blasting. So I blame the sound people for Wagner's failure, also. Clint Hurdle is on warning, but the Yankee Stadium sound people are dead to me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Moises Alou update

This seems to be the end of Moises Alou's Major League Baseball career. In a post-game conference following the Mets' victory over the Giants today, Omar Minaya announced that Alou has a torn hamstring for which the team has recommended surgery. Alou will miss the rest of the season. At his advanced age, and considering his long history of injury problems, it seems impossible that he will play in a game again at the Major League level. If so, a solid career has come to an end. However, despite his impressive and consistent numbers throughout this career, Alou will go down in history as first-and-foremost the left fielder who looked up to the stands angrily after Steve Bartman attempted to catch a foul ball at Wrigley Field (although Alou stated this year that he would not have caught that ball with or without Bartman there).

Goodbye, Moises Alou. You'll never have to urinate on your hands in lieu of batting gloves again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We called it!

"Sometimes I even amaze myself." -Steve Martin, My Blue Heaven

I continue to be impressed by the near-prophet abilities we've demonstrated so far on this blog. First, we anticipated the usefulness of covering the Mets and Rays before Mets Geek did so for emotional expediency. Now, we come to realize the fruition of our greatest dream. That's right. Casey Fossum, "The Blade" himself, was the winning pitcher tonight for the Detroit Tigers. He's BACK!

In honor of this occasion, here's the lyrics to the Casey Fossum tribute song which I promised in the comments to the post linked to above. It's as corny as any other baseball fan song, I know (note: I actually have applied for a copyright for these lyrics, so they can only be reproduced with my permission.... which I'll very happily grant):

Our Beloved “Blade” by Joseph Cook

Drafted by the D-backs in the 7th round
He refused to sign, and the next year found
He’d raised his value up to pick 48
And was set to be the next Red Sox great.

Here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

He moved up to the majors in just four years.
He was clearly in the top half of his peers.
Casey made 7 starts his rookie season
And their quality gave us all a reason

To say here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

He joined the likes of Pedro, Burkett and Lowe
But the ALCS was as far as the Sox could go
So Casey did his part to end that dreadful “Curse”
He headed to the D-Backs – hey, it could be worse!

Here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

The Sox needed an ace who could lead them through
The playoffs while wearing a blood-filled shoe
So they sent off Casey to the desert sand
And brought Schilling to Fenway up in New England.

Here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

After a year in the desert where he’d mostly lose
He was sent to Tampa Bay for Mr. Jose Cruz (and cash!)
It was there that he spent the next 3 seasons
And gave us all so many more very good reasons
To say here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

With that infant franchise that did nothing but lose
Casey did nothing to hide from the boos.
Led the team in losses and thus put the hurts
On Nomo, Hendrickson, Waechter and Sturtz

Here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

Released by the D-Rays, he was free to roam
To the Padres and the Pirates searching for a home
Finally he signed on with Detroit
The 1930 home of the great Waite Hoyt.

Here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

This will have to be the current end of this song
But greatness can be held in check for just so long
Casey saved the Red Sox from decades of dark
And soon will be losing in Comerica Park.

Here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.

Here’s to Casey Fossum
Our beloved “Blade”
We’ll never forget the incredibly average
Way that he played.


There are some kiljoys who say we shouldn't salute Fossum for being 1-0 out of the bullpen with an ERA of 12.00. But c'mon; anybody could be 1-0 with an ERA of 0. Lighten up and celebrate Fossum's mediocrity.

By the way, just as Fossum was clearly responsible for ending the Curse of the Bambino, check out what's happening with the team he was forced to leave last season. That's right. The Rays are in first place at the start of July. Steve isn't available currently to comment on it, so I'll just give the opinion of the rest of us in the world of baseball fan-dom: WTF?!!! Oh, Casey Fossum, why must your powers of improving teams by leaving them be so great?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Current HOFers

As much as I and other bloggers like rdaam would like Joe McEwing to somehow make the Hall of Fame in 2012, it's not going to happen. But it got me thinking about all the people in MLB right now who are either locks for the Hall or will have very strong cases. Here's the list (let me know if I forget anybody):

-Mike Piazza (retired earlier this year) (LOCK)
-Ivan Rodriguez (LOCK)

First Basemen:
-Frank Thomas (Near-LOCK)
-Jim Thome (Near-LOCK)
-Albert Pujols (if he stays healthy, his numbers rival those of several of history's greatest hitters) (TBD: Health)
-Jason Giambi (impressive numbers, but will likely be hurt by the steroids problem) (TBD: Mitchell Report)

Second Basemen:
-Jeff Kent (I hate having to say this, remembering his pre-All Star days with the Mets) (LOCK)

-Derek Jeter (LOCK)
-Omar Vizquel (Near-LOCK)

Third Basemen:
-Alex Rodriguez (LOCK)
-Larry "Chipper" Jones (Near-LOCK)

-Barry Bonds (hasn't officially retired) (TBD: Steroids and generally an @$$****)
-Ken Griffey Jr. (LOCK)
-Manny Ramirez (Near-LOCK)
-Gary Sheffield (Strong Case, but is hurt by the fact that he was never the most feared hitter in a lineup)
-Ichiro Suzuki (will be the first Japanese import inducted into the HOF) (LOCK)
-Vlad Guerrero (Near-LOCK)

-Mariano Rivera (LOCK)
-Trevor Hoffman (Hoffman has the advantage over Lee Smith in that Hoffman played for top quality teams) (LOCK)
-Greg Maddux (LOCK)
-Tom Glavine (LOCK)
-John Smoltz (I've heard people argue against John Smoltz, but with 200 career wins and 150 saves, I don't have a doubt about him. At different times in his career he stood as one of the best starters and best closers in the league) (LOCK)
-Roger Clemens (still has not officially retired) (TBD: Steroids and Character controversies)
-Randy Johnson (LOCK)
-Pedro Martinez (LOCK)
-Mike Mussina (Strong Case, hurt by the fact that he never won a Cy Young or led the league in ERA)

Designated Hitter:
-David Ortiz (TBD: If Edgar Martinez is elected to the HOF, then Ortiz has a good chance. If Edgar Martinez is not elected to the HOF, then I don't believe Ortiz has a chance at all, because that will be a strong statement by the BBWAA concerning DHs)

I feel like I've forgotten people since I came up with this post last night. Let me know if I did. Feel free to tell me what you think of the people I have listed here, also.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Unfair League Justice

Major League Baseball Umpire Brian Runge was suspended 1 game by the league for his conduct in the Mets-Mariners game on Tuesday night. After attempting to bait Carlos Beltran into arguing a call, Runge engaged in an argument with Mets manager Jerry Manuel. During this debate, Runge clearly bumped Manuel, at which point Jerry went berserk and was ejected (Beltran followed suit as Manuel reached the dugout on his way to the clubhouse).

Here is my problem with this: Runge should have been suspended for more than 1 game. If Jerry Manuel had bumped him during the argument, Manuel would be suspended for at least 4 games. Why should Runge be let off so easily? I've been umpiring little league games for 4 years, and last year even I was suspended for a week because the general opinion was that I was seeking out confrontations with coaches and players. So recreation little league umpirers in small-town north Jersey are held to a higher standard of conduct than Major League umpirers? Outrageous. I was surprised to see that Major League Baseball gave Runge any punishment, but seeing that they did, they were too lenient. I also wonder whether they would have done anything at all if the incident had happened in Seattle rather than in New York...

We've all seen suspensions doled out after brawls that don't seem proportional. But this suspension of Runge for only one game clearly shows that the league is more interested in protecting its direct employees than in promoting equal justice for wrongdoing.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Heilman gets a one day reprieve; Down With Oliver Perez!

Here's an idea: With Pedro Martinez returning to the Mets tomorrow, the team should keep both Mike Pelfrey and Claudio Vargas and remove Oliver Perez from the rotation. This whole season has been brutal to watch, and tonight has just ended with 1/3 of an inning giving up 6 runs including two homeruns (one of which was by a hitter who never had more than 2 long balls even in a minor league season) and leaving one runner on base who is his responsibility. How did this guy win an arbitration case this past offseason?!

It's good to look to Church on Sunday

Ryan Church returned to the Mets line-up in right field Sunday night for the first time since suffering his second concussion of the season against the Braves. The result? The Mets offense actually looked alive for once. Church made me jump out of my seat in his first at-bat when he hit a low-inside pitch deep to right, but it was caught a few steps short of the wall. The Dodgers weren't so fortunate later in the game. After Carlos Beltran homered (his second in two days... amazing), Delgado walked (I guess that's something...). Church stepped up and hit a two run shot to right on a high-inside fastball. It's great to have Church back. Maybe we can actually get over .500 again now. The Mets face the Giants and Padres next -- the bottom dwellers of the bad (with the exception of Arizona) NL West. If there's a time to gain ground on the Phillies and Marlins, this is it.

By the way, after Church homered, ESPN continually showed the replay and viewers were forced to listen to Joe Morgan talk about what a poor scouting report the Dodgers obviously had on Ryan Church since they threw him up and in and he turned on it for a homer. So let me see if I understand this, Joe Morgan. Any time a batter hits a homerun, is it because of a bad scouting report used by the pitcher and catcher? Or does that just apply to Mets players who had hit a low and inside pitch to the warning track in their previous at-bat? Ever stop to consider that maybe Ryan Church just guessed right? Or -- and here's a wild idea -- maybe Ryan Church is just a good Major League hitter? Thank God Steve Phillips wasn't up there in the booth. Who knows what he and his hatred for the team he worked hard to destroy would've concocted as the excuse for why the Mets suddenly looked like a Major League baseball team!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm Alive....

I'm alive. The Mets, on the other hand, do not seem to have much of a pulse lately. While other Mets blogs have jumped ship temporarily to other teams (see: MetsGeek, which has converted to RaysGeek..... On that note, notice which blog beat them to covering the Mets and Rays. That's right. WE DID IT! Boo ya!)

Where was I? Oh yeah; I haven't been posting in a long time for two reasons:
  1. I haven't had access to the internet much lately.
  2. It would be too depressing to write about the last couple weeks the Mets have had.

Hopefully things will improve soon. While I wander aimlessly in North Jersey and Pennsylvania, read metsblog and metstradamus for your Mets fixes. The Mets are in the 12th inning right now and losing to the Marlins, so it could be another sad day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best Pitchers in the AL East?

I just posted this article on and it got added to the main article section, so I figured I'd should re-post it over here as well. I think it mostly got posted because it was an attempt to stop people from endlessly debating which pitcher is better, Sonnanstine or Jackson. I swear, arguments on DRaysBay can end up going in circles because some of the commenters refuse to accept the other point of view or at least concede some points. But anyway, here's the article:

To help distract us from more pointless Sonnanstine/Jackson debates, I figured I'd post something that's been on my mind for a little bit. After watching Kazmir pitch last night and seeing how well Shields has been pitching this year, I couldn't but think that we've got one of, if not the best, 1-2 punch in all of the AL East. Let's think about this...

#1: Scott Kazmir
#2: James Shields
This may seem weird to say after Kaz's really awesome performance last night, but if you ask me, I feel like Shields is quickly developing into our staff ace. He has already assumed a vocal team leadership role on this team, taught Percy and Kazmir his change-up, and has put up really impressive numbers so far this season. He's also had one of the most dominant outings from any (Devil) Ray pitcher, he's pitched multiple complete games already, he doesn't walk many batters, and he is much more economical with his pitches than Kazmir. Of course, Kaz looked much more economical last night and could be poised for a big break-out year himself. Thoughts? Opinions? Who will be our staff ace by the end of the year? Personally, as weird as it may sound, I currently feel more secure with Shields on the mound than Kazmir.

#1: Josh Beckett
#2: Dice-K
Beckett is just...well, awesome. But Dice-K is not the staff ace that Boston thought they were paying for when they put up that $50M posting fee. He had a 4+ ERA last year and although he currently has a 2.50 ERA this year, his K:BB ratio is screaming that his ERA is bound to rise soon. Heck, he's walked 8 hitters in one game this year, which is just absolutely ridiculous. Then again, Dice-K did have a much better K:BB ratio last year than he does this year, so that will probably improve some as well. This is up for debate (depending on how much you like Dice-K and how much you think Kaz and Shields will improve this year), but I personally say advantage Rays.

#1: Jeremy Guthrie
#2: Daniel Cabrera this the year that young, chronically wild flamethrowers finally find the strikezone? So far, it's certainly looking good for Jackson and Cabrera. While I'm still not completely sold on either of them, they are certainly looking like they're making improvements and who knows? This could be the year these guys finally put it together and if so, watch out AL. However, despite all that, this duo still has nothing on Kaz and Shields. Too unproven and heck, who is Jeremy Guthrie?

#1: Roy Halladay
#2: AJ Burnett
Roy Halladay is probably one of the most underrated pitchers in the league, simply because he pitches in Canada and well, those Blue Jay never get any love. He's a model of consistency since he first broke into the league, almost always posting ERAs in the low 3s. Burnett, on the other hand, is brilliant when healthy, but he's certainly had a hard time with that since joining the Blue Jays. He has yet to get over 30 starts in one season with the Blue Jays and over the course of his career, he's only topped 30 starts in two seasons. However, he is a heck of a pitcher when healthy. This year he hasn't been that effective yet (4.79 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 49:27 K:BB), but I think he has too much talent not to turn it around as long as he's healthy. However, both Burnett and Halladay are currently 31 and most likely beyond their peak years. While they'll probably still be effective for some years, Shields is 26 and Kaz is 24, plus their both locked up by the Rays for years to come. I think that fact alone gives the advantage to the Rays.

#1: Ching Ming-Wang
#2: Andy Pettite
Wang is a true ace, despite him not being a strikeout pitcher. However, the Yankee rotation ends there. Andy Pettite (36 years old) and Mike Mussina (39 years old) in slots 2 and 3? Sure, they're still decent pitchers, but nothing like how they were in their peaks. If the Yankees get Hughes back on the right track or switch Joba to the rotation, then maybe they'll be able to challenge Kaz and Shields. As of now, though, they simply don't have the depth. The Yankee rotation is just a mess at the moment. that was nowhere near a systematic analysis or anything, but I think if you look up the stats, they'll back up many of my conclusions. I was just feeling too lazy tonight to put a bunch of stats in. But anyway, thoughts? Which 1-2 punch do you think is the best this year? The best to build a franchise around? Also, because I'm really curious, who do you think is our staff ace...Shields or Kazmir?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yay Rays!

I'm incredibly happy today, just so you know :-D

Hypothetical Question Time!

"'re a Major League Baseball team owner. Everyone is a free agent. You have a Yankees-like wallet. Who is your first position player? Who's your pitcher?"

This was a question asked to President Bush in a recent interview. Bush's answers? Chase Utley and Roy Halladay. Now, I'm going to stear clear of casting political aspersions (I'll leave that up to UmpBump) because I'm sure Joe wouldn't appreciate that, but I'm really impressed with these choices. Utley is definitely a justifiable pick and although Halladay is 31, he's an awesome pitcher that not too many people know about because he pitches for those Jays up in Canada. Bush knows his baseball.

However, this got me wondering, who would I pick in this same situation? I my mind, whoever I pick has to be good at all the aspects of the game plus being young. So, let's begin by looking at the hitters.

Alright, right off the bat you can cross the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, and Ryan Braun off the list. Why? Defense. As awesome as they all are with the bat, they're notorious butchers in the field. I'm not going to make a Tiger-like mistake and bring in a guy like Miggie, only to realize 10 games later that he can't play his position. I have to say, though, I'm still tempted by Ramirez because even if he gets moved to centerfield (which could happen since he's apparently pretty bad at short), he's still an offensive powerhouse. Who has ever heard of a player going 30-50 before? It's just insane! But anyway, regardless, I'm still crossing him off the list.

That leaves me with a list that reads something like this: Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, David Wright, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, BJ Upton, Grady Sizemore*. Some people might argue that Carl Crawford and Brandon Phillips should be included on there, but they're both bordering on too old for this list. Also, they're OBPs are just way too low for my likes. I've read "Moneyball" and yes, I'm a convert. And A-Rod, as awesome as he is, is now 32 (turning 33 in July). In my eyes, that's too old to build a franchise around.

* I'm stealing this technique from Joe Posnanski's blog, which is awesome and I think everyone should read. It's great writing, plus it happens to be about baseball. Anyway, does anyone else notice how NL heavy that list is? And not just that, NL East heavy. Just a thought, but those Phillies and Mets look to be good for years to come, assuming they're smart.

Also, I know there are tons of other amazing young players out there, like Evan Longoria, Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Chris Young, Alex Gordon, etc. The trick is, I'm only including players in this list that have already proven they can produce at the major league level. As much as I might like to pick Longo, I'm not picking anyone unless we already know that they can be a stud on the major league level. I'd go through my reasoning completely, but to spare you from reading a ridiculously long post, here's my final answer: BJ Upton. I know that I'm incredibly biased, but I think I can back this up. Pujols is 28 and possibly past his prime years. Reyes doesn't walk enough and has been in a slump dating back to the All-Star Break last year. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are turning 30 this year. Prince Fielder has an attitude. Ryan Howard strikes out waaaay too much. Grady Sizemore hasn't been able to step up his game to the superstar level yet. And Upton has posted similar offensive numbers to Wright...but he's two years younger.

Upton is currently 23 and finally brokeout last year. His final numbers were .300/.386/.508, with 24 HRs, 22 SBs, and 82 RBIs in only 129 games. His batting average was a little higher than we can probably expect going forward, but his power and speed numbers both look to increase. Now that Upton has found his proper position and is playing every day, it should be very interesting to see what sort of numbers he can put up over the course of a full year. He did strike out a good amount last year, but his K/BB ratio has improved a lot so far this year.

Anyway, I'm going to leave it at that for now. I need to ponder over which starting pitcher I'd like, so I'll get back to you on that one. Anyway, Joe, what do you think?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Alou is Back!

If nothing else, the Mets roster is beginning to slightly more resemble the Mets roster with Duaner Sanchez returning recently and tonight's return of Moises Alou. Sure, both catchers from our preferred Major League roster are on the Disabled List currently, and Pedro will miss several more weeks, and El Duque is -- well -- El Duque, but some people are making their returns.

Last year, when Alou actually played, he was an RBI, BA, and HR machine. Tonight, in his first at-bat of the season, he has an RBI single (which, granted, should have been a double play ball if Diamondbacks 2B Orlando Hudson didn't simply miss it completely). There's been plenty to complain about with this Mets team this season, but Alou is currently batting 1.000 with an RBI. There's not much we can say in complaint about his performance when he's actually been on the field......yet.


By the way, the Mets have switched back tonight to the order with Ryan Church batting second and Castillo in the 8-slot. They're scoring again. Incredible... Amazing how so many blogs and other fans have called for this, and it's taken this long for Willie Randolph to go with it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Relishing the Glory

Sending vaguely nasty facebook comments to all the Red Sox fans I know wasn't quite enough, so here are a bunch of the articles I've enjoyed reading today. Just simply soaking up the glory of this series...

It's April, but who cares?

Was this series the most important one in (Devil) Ray history?

Leading the AL East!

Go Rays!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

NFL Draft

I actually did watch both days -- all 15 hours or however long -- of the NFL Draft, proudly wearing a Lions jersey. I didn't pay much attention to college football last season, to be honest, so I didn't know much about the draft class like I usually have in the past. However, there was one member of the draft class that I -- and every audience member at Radio City, as well as the ESPN commentators -- was hoping would have his name called. That one player was Caleb Campbell, a safety from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Campbell was looking forward to leading a platoon in Iraq if he wasn't chosen today. Every time he was mentioned or shown on screen, the crowd erupted into chants of "Ca-leb Campbell" or "U.S.A., U.S.A." It was undoubtedly the most exciting moment of the draft, despite being the 11th pick in the 7th round (218th pick overall). And what team selected Caleb Campbell with that pick? The Detroit Lions. I've never been so proud to be a Lions fan.

Even better, I just found this question and answer from's player profile on Campbell, compiled before the draft:

Q. Growing up, who was your favorite NFL player and why?
Campbell: Barry Sanders. He was unstoppable.

I agree, Caleb Campbell. That's the main reason I became a Lions fan, and have been through many painful years since Barry Sanders left.

The link below is the article about Caleb Campbell being drafted by the Lions:

A Turning Point in the History of This Blog

I am sorry to say that this is the first post to which I am attaching a Parental Advisory, following the lead of other blogs that wrote on the event.

This past week, the Mets traveled to Wrigley Field for a series against the Cubs. During that series, young Mets reliever Joe Smith apparently decided he had had enough of the hecklers to whom relief pitchers become so accustomed. Follow the link below to HomerDerby and the video is available on that site.

I like Joe Smith. I do. I think he was our best guy before Wagner in the 'pen before Dirty Sanchez came back (who has looked good so far, so my hopes are high). But I don't like this.

...Speaking of Billy Wagner, today he allowed a hit for the first time this season. I guess this windup of his (which I still find weird whenever I see it) is working. Wagner still has not allowed a run in 2008.

Holy. Crap.

Wooohoo!! 3-game sweep of the Red Sox at home!! And now, if things keep going the way they're going and Baltimore loses to the White Sox tonight, we'll be tied for first place in the AL East with them. Plus, we're squaring off against Baltimore in our next series and Kaz is looking to come back on Thursday, so oh man....this is just too friggin' exciting. I just can't contain myself right now!

Oh, and by the way, that Longoria guy is pretty f-ing incredible. He made a couple amazing grabs at third today plus after striking out twice against Josh Beckett, he comes back in his third at bat and blasts a homerun against him. I love Longo more and more every day...

And Shields pitched a monster of a game tonight. Pitching a complete game, two-hit shutout against the Red Sox? That's just something else.

On a completely random subject, apparently the Rays are a great deal if you want to go see them at home. There's free carpool parking, plus college kids can get tickets for $5 on Friday nights along with $1 hot dogs. If only I lived in Tampa...

Not Much New

I've been very busy lately, thus the no new posts on the Mets. But here's a basic update:

-Wright is unfortunately in a slump.
-Ryan Church is still hitting the ball hard, against both righties and lefties.
-Aaron Heilman has taken over the top spot on my list of undesirables. He is absolutely terrible.
-Brian Schneider has missed the last several games with an injury. Raul Casanova has filled in for him. Casanova has a homerun today off of John Smoltz.
-The Mets knocked Smoltz out of today's game after only 4 innings. The Mets were leading 4-0. It is now 4-3.... Crap.


Hopefully I'll have time for another substantive post soon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Links Links Links...

I'm not feeling like writing a real article, per se, but I've found a good amount of really cool sites out there worth checking out. So pop into these sites if you have a won't regret it, I promise.

Beyond the Boxscore
This is a very intelligent baseball sabrmetrics blog, written in large part by my favorite blogger from DRaysBay, RJ Anderson. If you want a sample of the sort of articles they publish there, take a look at their most recent post above. It's a really great article detailing the reasons (and pretty in-depth ones at that) why despite his slow start, David Ortiz still has some pop in his bat.

Rob Neyer's new book
Definitely add this to my list of books I'd like someone to buy for me. Actually, I'll probably buy it for myself before my birthday comes around. For anyone that loves baseball history and lore, this looks like a must read.

Interview with Rob Neyer about said book
After reading this interview, I've decided that Rob Neyer is one of the few ESPN analysts that I can actually respect. Come to think of it, I can't remember ever having a problem with any of the things that he's written. He's definitely a cool guy and seems to know what he's talking about.

Tejada Lied!
Honestly, this is a few days old news by this point, but ESPN just finally put an article up about it. The Orioless got so lucky that they unloaded Tejada to the Astros this offseason. First the Mitchell Report and now this. And be honest, I actually don't like this article that much but it's worth skimming to get the gist of the situation.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Baseball players have ADD?

Very interesting article from Newsweek highlighting how many baseball players may be switching from amphetamines (since they're now banned) to ADD medication. I haven't heard anyone in any baseball circles or on any blogs mentioning this, so I feel like this has simply yet to gather attention. It's certainly an interesting idea and I would definitely believe it. Heck, from talking about ADD in my psych class this semester, some college kids use Ritalin in order to help focus for studying and tests. Apparently having ADD is very profitable on campuses, as everyone wants to get some Ritalin or Adderall. So if college kids are using it, why not pro athletes?

That's so depressing, though. Why can't athletes just be content with the skills they naturally have? Oh, that's right...

$$ *bling bling!* $$

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happy 10 Year Anniversary of Suckiness!

I recently posted this on Facebook in the blog for the Tampa Bay Rays Fan application. Apparently if I'm not too late, I might be able to win a prize (a nifty icon on Facebook!) for it. I figured you guys might enjoy it as well...

"Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville - mighty Casey has struck out."

For years, this quote from Ernest L. Thayer's immortal "Casey at the Bat" was very fitting for the Devil Rays franchise. If you slightly changed the last line, just imagine how many different situations it applied to:

"But there is no joy in Tampa - mighty [insert name here*] has struck out."

* Choose one: Aubrey Huff, Jared Sandberg, Greg Vaughn, Jose Canseco, Vinny Castilla, Ben Grieve, Toby Hall, Jorge Cantu, Joey Gathright, Elijah Dukes, Dewon Brazelton (struck out as a pitching prospect), Lou Piniella, Josh Hamilton (damn the Reds!), etc.

If you couldn't get my drift or you've been in a coma for the last ten years, the Devil Rays sucked. No ifs ands or butts; they’ve been utterly atrocious ever since they first joined the league ten years ago in 1998. Through a combination of bad luck and a horrendously bad front office, the Devil Rays managed to bungle their way to a 645-972 record (a .399 winning percentage), losing over 100 games in three of ten seasons. They’ve become masters at being “forgettably bad” – not bad enough to become lovable losers like the 1962 Mets or 2003 Tigers and not good enough to justify people actually liking them. Instead, they’ve just wallowed in the moldering bog of suckiness, swallowing any player with actual talent and turning them into Dewon Brazelton.

After the 2005 season, though, everything started to change. Vince Namoli and his cronies left town after eight loooong years (sound familiar?), bought out by the baseball equivalent of Barack Obama - Stuart Sternberg. While Sternberg wasn’t nearly as elegant or good looking as Barack Obama, Sternberg came in very inexperienced but preaching about, “dramatic change for this organization.” Him and Matthew Silverman (President/GM) reshaped the team’s infrastructure and started pampering to their fans, enticing them with free parking and many new upgrades to Tropicana Field. Even if the team on the field wasn’t much different the next year, the mindset in the front office had definitely changed. “There are teams that spend quite a bit of money and don't have much success,” Sternberg said, “There are teams that spend a bit less and have a lot of success. We just want to have success.”

Now, if Obama could be as successful turning our country around as Sternberg and Matthew Silverman (president/GM) has been turning the Devil Rays around, I wouldn’t be surprised if within three years, we all have global health care and Iraq has a settled, stable government. Ever since Silverman took over, the Devil Rays have significantly improved to the point where this off-season, they finally shed themselves of their cocoon and for the first time ever, became a major league ball club. They invested money in free agents needed to make the team better, they signed key players to long-term contracts, and they finally committed to the idea of winning now. No more of this “winning-in-five-years” crap, thank goodness. And what better way to symbolize this change than by changing their team name, logo, and uniforms? Oh, and they released plans for a new stadium. In short, the Devil Rays and their ten years of suckiness are no more. The Rays, gay burst of sunshine and all, are here to play and they mean business.

In the end, though, how much can we really expect from the Rays this season? Sure, they front office may have added Troy Percival, Cliff Floyd, Trevor Miller, Jason Bartlett, and Matt Garza this off-season, but how much does this all translate into in terms of wins? If we’re just evaluating in terms of these off-season moves, potentially, not a lot. We’ve already seen both Cliff Floyd and Matt Garza go down with injuries this year, while Bartlett and Miller haven’t exactly lived up to expectations yet. Regardless, PECOTA (currently the most reliable stat-based projection system) predicts that the Rays will go 88-74 this year, ending up in third place in their division. PECOTA has a reliability of around 4 games, meaning that it’s normally only ever off by plus or minus 4 games. Where is this coming from?

Two words: defense and pitching. The Rays were absolutely horrible last year in terms of both defense and pitching, actually hitting the realm of historically bad in terms of defense. According to Baseball Prospectus, the 2007 Rays had a .662 defensive efficiency rate, the lowest they have on record. All this means when turned into other stats and juggled a little bit is that last year, the Devil Rays, “…were nearly six percent worse than the league average at converting balls in play into outs.” Ouch.

Also, the Rays had horrible pitching. Heck, their Opening Day rotation last year included both Casey Fossum and Jae Seo; I don’t know about you, but that certainly looks like a winning combination to me (irony alert!). Their team ERA was 5.53, while their bullpen ERA alone stood at 6.16. Their pitching staff let up 944 runs, which is over 50 runs higher than the next closest team. Granted, their pitching couldn’t have been helped by their historically inept defense, but I still don’t think Edwin Jackson’s 5.76 ERA was completely a result of bad defense.

Now, the addition of Bartlett, the promotion of Longoria, the development of Upton in centerfield, and shifting Aki to second base all bolster the Rays’ defense. To what degree is debatable, as Bartlett hasn’t been perfect at short (though he is a definite step up over anyone else we’ve ever had at short) and Upton still has a lot to learn. There was also a recent article published at Baseball Prospectus that goes into some detail why they believe PECOTA overestimates how much improved the Ray defense will be this year. Even if the Rays’ defense isn’t incredible this year, though, it’s still got to be much better than last year.

In terms of pitching, the pitching depth that the Rays have in the minor leagues is finally starting to manifest itself in the majors. Over the first 18 games of this season, the Rays have been without their staff ace Scott Kazmir, but they still have a 4.04 team ERA and a 2.93 bullpen ERA. This improvement even without Kazmir (and Garza, for that matter) stems from one main thing: minor league depth. The Rays farm system has been ranked for the past two years in a row as the best system in all of baseball, and the results are finally now beginning to appear in the majors. Flamethrower J.P. Howell seems to have finally found his niche as the long-relief man in the bullpen (2.53 ERA in 10.2 IP), while Jason Hammel has managed to turn his potential into results for the first time (1 W, 4.26 ERA, 19 IP). Even Edwin Jackson has finally strung together a couple good starts, though whether this success is temporary is up for debate. Top prospect Jeff Niemann was just called up from AAA and if he strings together a few more solid starts, it may be tough to send him back down. So whatever way you look at it, the Rays are finally in a good place for pitching. Maybe Jackson and Hammel won’t keep pitching as well as they currently are, but it seems like the days of Ray pitchers with 6 ERAs are long gone. Oh man, and speaking of pitching, I can’t wait for David Price to arrive on the scene next year…

So when all is said and done, PECOTA’s prediction of 88-74, while optimistic, might actually hold true. At the very least, you can make a solid argument as to why the Rays could potentially put up that record. Personally, I’m predicting the Rays to finish with a season record at 81-81, plus or minus 3 games, with it being more likely they’ll end up on the minus side. PECOTA’s prediction is just a tad too optimistic even for me, one of the world’s largest optimists. I think the Rays’ defense is going to better, but not as good as PECOTA predicts. Aki is going to need time to adjust to second base and we’ve already seen Upton misplay some balls in the outfield this year. Our pitching staff I have more faith in, though I am very skeptical of Edwin Jackson’s early success and feel that we should trade him while his value is high. We have enough pitching depth and I would much rather give Niemann 30 starts right now than Jackson.

However the Rays turn out this year, though, I think there’s something everyone can agree with – this is going to be one hell of a fun team to watch. Whether it’s going to be Pena blasting a homerun, Crawford stealing bases like crazy, Kazmir striking out people left and right, Longoria being damn sexy, or Johnny Gomes swinging for the fences, it's going to be a wild ride. So excuse me while I go turn on the game. Jackson’s on the mound, so let’s keep those fingers crossed. Go Rays!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dirty Sanchez is back!

The Mets game just ended, and it was full of great individual performances. Pelfrey pitched 7 scoreless innings, Reyes had 4 hits including a triple and double, Wright had 5 RBIs including a 2-run homer in the first inning. But the biggest thing about tonight's game in my opinion was the man who pitched the 9th inning for the Mets: Duaner Sanchez. It was his first Major League appearance since his taxi cab accident in Miami back on July 30, 2006. I didn't get to see it, but the radio announcers said his slider seemed sharp and his fastball had good velocity. But we all know Duaner's go-to-pitch is the change, and he seemed to be missing his spot with that. But that will come. Overall, Sanchez pitched 1.0 inning, gave up a ground ball single up the middle, struck out a batter, and induced two ground ball outs. A strong outing.

I know I'm a Heilman-hater, but I'll mention here that he pitched a scoreless 8th inning, despite giving up a double.


More on Duaner Sanchez, I just want to include a story here. I've already written the story of how Xavier Nady learned he had been traded after Sanchez's injury created a need for a relief pitcher. As clueless as Nady was that him being traded was a possibility, the rest of the Mets may have been even more shocked. Apparently, Nady was in the hotel lobby on July 31 and preparing to leave to join the Pirates. A bunch of the Mets players were set to go out to dinner and just assumed that X-Man would either join them or be going out on his own. It was then that Nady told them all he had been traded to Pittsburgh. He also told them at this time about Duaner Sanchez's car accident and injury, which the players seemingly didn't know about before. Needless to say, the collection of Mets players was speechless. Nady was an extremely popular player among both his teammates and the fans, and obviously everybody recognized how critical Sanchez was to the team's success.

With Sanchez returning, it's an appropriate time to look back. Aaron Heilman, Guillermo Mota (yes, that steroid-using, lead-blowing @$$****), and Roberto Hernandez all tried to fill Sanchez's role, and none were particularly successful in the end (i.e. the playoffs [Yadier Molina? Are you kidding me, Heilman?]). Heilman is still blowing leads for the Mets, so not much has changed there. Mota was sent to the Brewers in a form of addition-by-subtraction, since the player the Mets received in return, Johnny Estrada, was released just a couple weeks later. Roberto Hernandez went to the Indians to start 2007, but was released by them on June 20 of that year, and signed onto a minor-league deal with the Dodgers. He struggled through a stretch with the Major League club, and is currently a free agent at 43 years old. Xavier Nady is now the main offensive threat of the Pittsburgh Pirates (or a close second to Jason Bay), and still a very popular player (not to mention an early winner of the Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day Award here on this site).

Today's Game So Far

I just got back to my computer after playing whiffleball for a while and eating dinner, and I obviously went straight to to access Gameday and to listen to the WFAN broadcast of the Mets game. When I got into Gameday, I saw that Ryan Church is batting second in the Mets order today, which is very strange, because the Nationals' starting pitcher (Odalis Perez) is a lefty. What happened to all that talk of Church being incapable of hitting lefties? Anyway, with Church in the 2-spot, Luis Castillo was bumped down to 8th in the order. I thought I must have been reading something wrong or they had posted it wrong. But then I saw that Wright hit a 2-run homer in the first to give the Mets the lead, and clicked on the little video link to watch the highlight. When he finished rounding the bases, the runner waiting for him at home was wearing uniform #42. Ryan Church is #19, so obviously my belief that something was wrong with Gameday was correct. It only took me a second to realize that everybody on the Mets is wearing #42 today in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which is being celebrated around baseball today.

As part of Jackie Robinson Day, which Commissioner Selig decided to center at Shea Stadium this year, the Mets unveiled the newly constructed Jackie Robinson Rotunda, the Ebbets Field-inspired museum portion of the Mets future home, Citi Field. I haven't had a chance to watch any video of the unveiling yet, and probably won't until late tonight when my college's internet speeds up after everybody else who isn't a history major is asleep. But I'm really getting excited about that new stadium every time a ball is hit to left and it appears in the background.

From a Broadcast last season: "And David Wright has just hit the first homerun in Citi Field." -after Wright's homer landed in the construction area


I realize I haven't posted a Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day in quite a few days. I've just been extremely busy lately.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why must reporters be such jerks sometimes?

So I just finished writing a rather lengthy, angry email to Jayson Stark, a writer at I can't really comment on how good his article was, since it piqued my ire after...ummm, 8 sentences. I got so pissed, I couldn't go on. I very well may have been overreacting since it's late and I'm tired, but I'll let you decide. I explain all in the letter:

Dear Mr. Stark-

I for one was shocked and appalled by your reference to Rocco Baldelli in your article "So many key players on the shelf". To be specific:

"(Before we launch into this list, just be aware that those with long-term afflictions -- Tommy John rehabbers, sufferers of Rocco Baldelli-itis et al -- were deemed ineligible."

Are you aware that Baldelli was diagnosed this spring with a rare and debilitating illness that could not only mean the end of his baseball career, but also impact all aspects of his life?

The poor guy can't play a game without getting winded and well, baseball isn't exactly like soccer. He's having trouble with stamina and because of that, his entire life could be impacted. His baseball career is most likely done (unless they can somehow find a way to cure it) and this illness could also end up keeping Baldelli from leading a normal, active life. And you find this as something to poke fun at?

I know there are tons of people out there that are injury prone and as a Ray fan, I've gotten frustrated with Rocco before. But at this point, all I can feel is ridiculously sorry for the guy. Do you think he wants to get winded after light workouts? He's going through a rough enough time as it is and I don't think he should have the media poking fun at his illness on top of it all. I notice you didn't say anything about anyone suffering from Doug is this any different? As someone that's had cancer myself, I sincerely hope that you would never, ever say something like that. You don't insinuate that someone else may have a debilitating illness, especially when it draws away from the seriousness of that illness. It's disrespectful to everyone involved.

And one more least they know what to do to help Doug Davis, you know? He could potentially be ready to go by the All-Star Break. But what can Baldelli do at this point? Yes, it's not cancer, but it is a rather serious disease that seems to be getting worse and worse, which no one has any idea how/why it started or how to stop it.

So I guess all I'm asking is that you use more discretion and care in the future. Sorry this was so long winded, but I hope you stuck it through to the end. Thanks for listening.

Steve Slowinski

Breaking News!

Okay folks, this news almost tops Longoria in terms of how big a deal it is. Some of you out there may not fully appreciate the magnitude of this announcement, but it truly is ground-shaking information. Quite possibly the biggest baseball news that there's been since that whole Santana drama finished. Maybe even since that Babe Ruth guy was sent to the Yankees for money to fund a play.

**Drumroll please**

Casey Fossum has signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers! The Blade is back!

Sign up here to join the official Casey Fossum Fan Club. You know you want to...

Longoria is back!!

I woke up this morning simply hoping that the Rays had managed to pull out a win last night against the Orioles (which they had, 10-4), but lo and behold, there was even more good news waiting for me. Doing my daily early morning check of DRaysBay, I happened to notice these three heavenly words gracing the top of the site..."EVAN. HAS. ARRIVED." Woohoo!!

Apparently, sending Longoria down in the first place was entirely an economic decision and the Rays management seems content to not pretend any differently. They're calling him up after only about 10 games, during which Evan has only 5 singles. Certainly doesn't seem like he's proved anything amazing while down there those few days. However, Longoria literally just passed the deadline so that his service time will extend an extra year. I'm perfectly fine with this decision since at this point, we'll have Longo for an extra year one way or the other, plus Longo didn't really miss much of this season.

For all of you out there that may have no idea who I'm talking about Evan (not Eva) Longoria is currently the top ranked prospect in the Rays organization and one of the highest rated in the game at the moment. He's basically the consensus pick to with the AL Rookie of the Year award, though obviously we've got to play the games first and see what happens. However, he is an excellent defensive third baseman that hits for average, power, and has a pretty good batting eye. In AA last year, he hit .307 with 21 homeruns in only 105 games. He was promoted to AAA at the end of the season and although his average dipped, his on base percentage increased and his power numbers remained steasy. In short, he's a hell of an upgrade over their current third baseman and should be a solid presence in the middle of the Rays' batting order for years to come (knock-on-wood...).

He's starting tonight vs. the Orioles! Don't miss it!


PS - I don't feel that bad anymore about the Rays getting cleaned up by Wang earlier this week. The Red Sox just got owned by him last night to the tune of 9 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, and 3 K. Heck, the Rays got 4 hits and 2 walks off him over 6 IP - that's positively brilliant in comparison.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mets Defeat the Phillies

The Mets just defeated the Phillies 8-2 at Shea Stadium. It was an ugly game. Only two of the Mets 8 runs were earned, and Kyle Kendrick walked 6 Mets in his 2 1/3 innings. On a brighter note, Mike Pelfrey made the start for the Mets and lasted 5 strong innings. Sosa (2 innings), Feliciano, and Muniz finished out the game.

With most of the runs resulting from walks and errors, the only real offensive highlight for the Mets was an RBI double by Angel Pagan.

The most exciting part of tonight's game was probably the names in two matchups in the 8th and 9th innings: Pedro Feliciano vs. Pedro Feliz, and Carlos Muniz vs. Carlos Ruiz.


Today's Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day was Phillies SS Eric Bruntlett, who filled in for the injured Jimmy Rollins. Bruntlett had 2 of the Phillies 4 errors, and they were costly.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"It Gets Through Buckner"

Bill Buckner was welcomed back to Boston for the first time today since his error in Game 6 of the '86 Series against the Mets. I remember two years ago, the Mets faced the Sox in a series in Boston in Interleague Play, and the Sox attempted to organize a reunion of players for the 20th anniversary of the two teams meeting in the Fall Classic. Buckner refused to attend. Today, the evidence was clear that Boston has fully forgiven their former all-star first baseman. The power of the reception he received clearly affected Buckner, but didn't prevent him from firing a perfect strike to Dwight Evans in the ceremonial first pitch. To watch the video, click the link (which I hope works) below:

The whole event was made even better (to me, at least) by the fact that the music played at the stadium for Buckner's entrance was from one of my all-time favorite movies (Glory).

I'm happy for Bill Buckner to finally be able to return to the city where he played a major part in simply getting the team to a World Series. I always enjoy when old players return to stadiums for events, and this one with Buckner was particularly moving.

Don't get me wrong, though. I love the event that caused Buckner's 22 year exile from Boston. (I realize the Red Sox brought him back at the start of the 1990 season, but he was driven out of town by the end of June of that year.)

Mets fans get it half-right

The Mets fans got it half right today in the pregame introductions of the Mets players. As nonted earlier, they booed Scott Schoeneweiss, but had a very neutral response to Aaron Heilman. Schoeneweiss proved in the game today that the booing was justified, and Heilman showed in his inning of work that the quiet reception he received was far too kind.

It didn't surprise me that no teams were interested when the Mets put Schoeneweiss on the market this offseason. However, I don't understand why management continues to refuse to include Aaron Heilman in trade talks.

Throw the bums out.

Mets Home Opener about to Begin

I've been listening to the introductions of the Mets' players in the pregame ceremonies for the final Home Opener at Shea. A couple things stood out:
  • Obviously, Johan Santana received the loudest and most sustained ovation. He was also the only new Met who received an introduction including the words, "Welcome to New York..."
  • The next loudest ovation was predictably for David Wright. In 3rd place? John Maine. I am personally a big John Maine fan (I'm wearing a Maine jersey today), so I appreciate that the crowd at the game recognizes like I do how well Maine pitched for us last year despite his tail-off in the August.
  • Scott Schoeneweiss received -- if nothing else -- a quieter reception than he was expecting (Said Schoeneweiss over the weekend about the upcoming player introductions: "I'm scared to death of it because I always get booed. Can't I just wear my hoodie out there?"). I heard more boos than cheers, but it wasn't as loud as I expected.
  • Aaron Heilman was not booed, despite already having given up a few costly runs this season, along with his checkered past including that homerun he gave up to Yadier Molina in the '06 NLCS.

Anyway, today's the final Home Opener for Shea Stadium. So I leave you with these song lyrics:

Now we see them rushing

To the stadium in Flushing.

Big Shea will see its last game in the Fall.

We've got Maine and Ollie Perez,

Moises and Chavez,

Santana's our guy and we're finishing high

So let's play ball.

We're talking baseball (Jose Reyes and Mr. Wright)

Talking baseball (Delgado's bat is dynamite)

Pedro, Church, and Billy -- they're all set.

And Carlos Beltran -- he's as good as it gets.

We're talking baseball. Baseball and the Mets.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Well, so much for 3 of 4 from the Yanks, though I have to say, I'm perfectly happy with a split (which is basically what this is going to be, seeing as Hammel pitches tomorrow). Our pitching staff game us another solid performance today and definitely gave our offense a chance to win this one, but Wang, Joba, and Mo out-shone us today. But hey, since when have the Rays ever been able to say that they've been in every game that they've played against the Yanks? This is certainly an encouraging thing.

On a negative note, though, Shields didn't have the best day out there. He did manage to limit the Yanks to 2 runs over 5 innings, which is always a good thing, but he let up a heck of a lot of baserunners. Not many walks at least, but the Yanks got a lot of hits off of him. This probably means nothing besides that the Yankee offense woke up a little bit today, but we've just come to expect better from Shields. In the end, though, he only let up 2 runs and that's what counts the most.

One slightly worrisome piece of news: Longoria has yet to get a hit or draw a walk in his first three AAA games this year. I know it's a small sample size and all, but come on man....we need you to destroy the league so you can be up in a month. Start mashing the ball already, geez.

I really want to try this sometime this season...

Also, add this book to my wishlist, for sure. Highly recommended by RJ Anderson from DRaysBay, probably the one blogger whose opinion I respect the most (well, minus anyone from this site, obviously).

I'm back!

Well, that was a long hiatus. I certainly did not mean to miss out on posting for the entire month of March, especially considering some very interesting developments happened with the Rays during that month. Thankfully, Joe was awesome enough to cover the Elliot Johnson incident and everything. I think I was in Ireland during the time that had all broken out, so that's my excuse for not being right on top of things.

But anyway, take a look at the Rays! 3-1 and they've knocked the Yanks around some during these past two games. Sure, a couple games don't necesarily mean anything in the long run, but if you're a Rays fan, you can't help but be really happy right now. Since when have the Rays ever done something like this in the past? They've gotten solid starting pitching so far, awesome bullpen outings, and they've managed to win two games in a row on the road. Heck, the Rays were atrocious on the road last year (29-52), while going 37-44 at home. If the Rays can keep up this intensity and, most importantly, pitching, things are definitely looking up for the season. Of course, I'm not going to expect E-Jax to maintain his 1.50 ERA or anything, but he did show a lot of resilience last night, settling down after starting off really shaky. At this point, Jason Hammel is going to have to pitch ridiculously well tonight to keep his spot in the rotation when Kaz comes back...

More Ray news will be forthcoming, but for now, I'm going to leave you with a link that I've found particularly interesting recently. It's an interesting look at the DH and why pitchers should never hit. Sorry, Joe, but I actually might agree with this article. The AL certainly has its pluses and honestly, I'm all for tradition and keeping things the way they always have been, but pitchers hitting doesn't seem to make much sense these days. The DH has permeated every level of the game down to high school ball and is even there in the minors, so why should things only be different in the NL? But anyway, read the article for yourself and decide.

Why Pitchers Should Never Hit

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Terrible Day; Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day

Today is a rough day for me in sports. Earlier, I listened in my car as the Mets fell to the Braves. Currently, I'm watching the Tar Heels get destroyed by Kansas in the Final Four. But I realize I said the "Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day" would be a daily feature, so instead of writing an angry piece about the Mets bullpen or anything like that, I'll just name that player for today and wait 'til tomorrow for some better news, hopefully.

Today's Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day was Aaron Harang of the Reds. Harang picked up a no-decision in his start today, but lasted 7 strong innings against the Phillies, keeping his team in the game before a Corey Patterson homerun and Paul Bako RBI groundout gave the Reds a lead and eventually a win. So congratulations to Aaron Harang for becoming the least-deserving Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day so far this season.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Daily Updates, including today's "Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day"

The Mets had a travel day today, and I honestly didn't know what to do with myself. I also had no classes today, and so instead spent my day reading through as many Mets blogs as I could, over and over again -- half hoping that if I did it often enough the Mets would have a game or something for me to be excited about. Of course that didn't happen, so I instead listened to the broadcast of the Phillies-Nats game (which was miserable to listen to -- THROW A FRICKIN' STRIKE! I DON'T CARE IF IT'S A BATTING PRACTICE PITCH OVER THE CENTER OF THE PLATE). Yeah, I'm not pleased about how that one turned out. So with the Nationals' bullpen obviously eliminated from contention for Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day, I had to wait to turn my attention to the Braves-Pirates game. In the 10th inning, Xavier Nady singled in the go-ahead run for the Bucs. Matt Capps came in for the save, and despite a 2-out triple by the incredibly fortunate Mark Kotsay, the lead held up. That makes former Met Xavier Nady a 2-time winner of the Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day.

Also in Atlanta, Mike Hampton was scratched about 10 minutes before the scheduled start of the game due to discomfort he felt during his warmups. This would have been Hampton's first Major League start in almost 3 years. Remember when he left the Mets to sign that 8 year, $120 million+ contract with the Rockies (which has since been transferred to the Braves)? I considered him as the Non Mets Player Mets Player of the Day, since that Braves rotation with him back in it was supposed to be the factor that would allow them to reclaim the East from the Mets and Phils. Now, who knows what his situation is... However, I like Xavier Nady much more, and he actually won the game for the Pirates.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yesterday's and Today's "Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day"

I didn't have a chance to post this last night, and frankly I tried to avoid writing after Pedro exited the game with his injury (he'll likely miss 4-6 weeks with a strained hamstring). The "Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day" for yesterday, April 1, was Claudio Vargas. Currently a free agent, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see the Mets go after Vargas to fill Pedro's spot in the rotation while he is out.

For tonight, though the Mets, Marlins, and Braves are still playing, I can announce the winner of the "Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day" is Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tim Redding, who pitched 7 scoreless innings in a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. This is the 3rd selection for a member of the Washington Nationals organization, with the entire teaming winning the honors for two days in a row to start the season.


"The Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day" is a daily feature on this blog which recognizes the player outside of the Mets organization who makes the greatest contribution that day to the Mets defeating the Phillies and Braves in the NL East. Based on those qualifications, it is possible for Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins players to win this award, as neither are considered serious contenders in the division.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Xavier Nady, still helping the Mets cause

I was a big fan of Xavier Nady for his half-season on the Mets. It was only due to the misfortune of Duaner Sanchez's taxi accident that the Mets traded Nady to pick up some bullpen help in Roberto Hernandez (and picked up Oliver Perez in the deal, as well). My fan-ocity (term still not trademarked) of Nady is still growing, as he just hit a solo homer in the 8th inning to put the Pirates ahead of the Braves.

On the subject of Nady, his story of finding out he'd been traded still amuses me. He dropped back 30-something (I could look up the exact number but I don't feel particularly motivated right now) games in the standings by going from the Mets to the Pirates in that deal. Here's the story, as I remember it: Nady said he didn't even know his name had ever come up in trade talks, and was at the beach with his fiancee all day. When he got back to his hotel room, he picked up his phone and saw there were over a dozen missed calls from Omar Minaya. "I knew that wasn't a good sign," Nady said. He then called Minaya and thanked him for allowing him the opportunity of being the Mets' right fielder for those previous four months.

"I knew that wasn't a good sign." It reminds me now of Bob Uecker's Hall of Fame Induction speech, where he listed the signs he noticed that he was possibly being released from a team: (1) Walking into the clubhouse on day one and having a coach tell you that visitor's aren't allowed; (2) Having management tell you they want you to consider joining the team as the 2nd Base Coach if they ever need one; (3) Being told by a manager to "Go grab a bat and kill this rally" or to "Go up there without a bat and try to work a walk." Oh, Bob Uecker. We all love you. But Xavier Nady is pretty good, too.


Edit by Joe Cook at 11:53 PM:

Nady hit another 3-run homer in the top of the 12th inning to put the Pirates up 12-9. The Braves scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, but were finally retired. Xavier Nady, with his 4-7, 2 HR, 4 Run, 4 RBI game against the Braves today, shares the honors with the entire Washington Nationals team (who defeated the Phillies [bullpen] handily today) for my daily "Non-Mets Player Mets Player of the Day." This is the Nationals' second selection this year, and second in a row, as yesterday they won the honor for knocking off the Braves in extras on an extra-inning blast by Ryan Zimmerman (who was teammates in AAU Baseball with David Wright).

Here's a convo just now between the two operators of this site, following Pagan's RBI double for the Mets a few minutes ago

Joe(5:24:02 PM): Angel Pagan is a god (or angel...) among men (or pagans...)!!
"JCS" (5:24:31 PM): lol
"JCS" (5:24:36 PM): gotta love that name, I've got to say
"JCS" (5:24:40 PM): it's pretty ridiculous
"JCS" (5:24:54 PM): what team is he on? to be honest, the name isn't really familiar
Joe(5:25:06 PM): I know it's pronounced differently, but I can't resist calling him by the way that's spelled
cooksbro10 (5:25:13 PM): He's the Mets starting left fielder
"JCS" (5:25:35 PM): ahh, okay
"JCS" (5:25:39 PM): hmm....interesting
"JCS" (5:25:39 PM): lol
"JCS" (5:25:51 PM): so either your team is blessed or has sold itself to the devil
Joe(5:25:55 PM): and to make it even more perfect, he's followed in the lineup by Ryan Church
"JCS" (5:26:01 PM): haha!
"JCS" (5:26:02 PM): wow...
"JCS" (5:26:09 PM): it really is a divine year for the mets

Time for my overarching pessimism to shine through

Reyes just struck out on 3 pitches in the top of the 1st. What a great way to start the season!

It's Opening Day!

The title is enough for incredible excitement among all baseball fans. Just on my buddy list of people at Gettysburg College, there are currently 11 people with away messages exclaiming "It's Opening Day!!" and then giving their favorite team. So I'm pumped. Santana is on the mound today against Hanley Ramirez and the otherwise AAA-level Marlins. So, being the Mets fan that I am, I'm cautiously optimistic about the game today.

So, in honor of opening day and hopefully the wide spectrum of readers we have here: Go Mets, Yankees, BoSox, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, ChiSox, Indians, Tigers, Royals, Mariners, Angels, Rangers, A's, Brewers, Cubs, Astros, Reds, Cardinals, Pirates, Rockies, D'backs, Padres, Dodgers, and Giants.

(Yes, I know I left out a few teams. That was not by accident.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finally another post: covering potato chips, the Nets, and the Mets

I've had nothing much to write about lately and have been terribly busy with classes and the work that goes along with them. However, someone complained that there hasn't been enough new stuff on here lately, so here goes something:

I was just eating potato chips just now and pulled out 3 straight chips that were shaped perfectly like Texas, Ohio, and Indiana and were even proportionately-sized. I take that to be a sign that either the Republicans are gonna win those 3 states in November or the Nets are going to have a very good road trip. However, since the Nets recently completed a dreadful Texas roadtrip and then lost to the Cavs, it could mean that they're also going to have a terrible showing against the Pacers soon. I haven't checked their schedule to confirm this possibility.

On the Mets front, John Maine pitched well again today, allowing only one run (a solo homer) on four hits in 5-2/3 innings. Brian Schneider and Ramon Castro are both nursing strained right hamstrings, which means right now the #1 catcher in the organization is Robinson Cancel or Raul Casanova (who had 2 hits and an RBI in the game tonight). Also, El Duque pitched a simulated game today, throwing around 75-80 pitches. Sadly, his top pitch speed was also in that range. And some people who watched it said that at times it seemed like slow-pitch softball. Now, everybody has seen El Duque occasionally throw the Bugs Bunny slowball, but from the sounds of the reports, his pitches today were all at very mediocre velocities. The Mets don't need a 5th starter for about a month due to the oddity of April scheduling that comes every year, but this is a very discouraging sign (unless, of course, you're either Mike Pelfrey or Mike Pelfrey's mother).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Are We Seriously Relying on Delgado?

Carlos Delgado has played two games so far this Spring since returning from his latest injury, had 5 at-bats, and has struck out in all 5 of them. It's great to see he's right at mid-season form.... Maybe Easley or Anderson should be the everyday first-baseman. It's too bad Shawn Green only wanted to play for a West Coast team this year (and wound up retiring). I know he was never fully accepted by many Mets fans, but at least Green hit consistently. He certainly didn't have the power he had during his years playing for Toronto and Los Angeles, but an average around .300 with limited power is something I'd gladly take over Delgado at this point.

Delgado just made contact with the ball finally. However, his first ball put in play this Spring resulted in an inning-ending double play. It would have been better if he had struck out...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rays and Yanks battling it out

Steve is currently traveling around Europe for a few weeks, so it falls on me to talk about the first exciting event in Devil Rays history. This would be perfect for him, since he used to be a Yankee fan and now roots for the Rays, but since he's acting so special by traveling around while I spent my Spring Break with all the excitement of the flu and bronchitis, it serves him right to miss this story.

As some of you may recognize from a previous post I wrote, I'm a bit of a fan of bench-clearing incidents in Major League Baseball (as long as incidents don't get out of hand like Jose Offerman charging the mound with his bat as a weapon in the Independent League). So I am thoroughly enjoying this story (other than the fact that a Yankees catching prospect broke his wrist) about the Rays and Yankees charging at each other today after Shelley Duncan made a supposedly dirty slide into second base. Now, I've watched Shelley Duncan play since he first came up with the Yankees, so it doesn't surprise me that he's finding himself embroiled in the middle of this violent controversy. The guy plays hard. I have no problem with aggressive play, as long as it's legal aggressive play. I haven't seen the video of his slide into Akinori Iwamura, so I can't say whether it was legal or not. But I'm glad this will give the AL East another storyline aside from the Yankee-BoSox rivalry. Last year, there was the ongoing conflict between the Blue Jays and Yankees (specifically A-Rod). So this year the Rays join in hating the Yanks. As a Mets fan, there's no team I'd rather see everybody in MLB hate than the Yankees (sorry Phillies and Braves; the Yanks are the Mets biggest rivals).

So far we have Phillies players talking in their clubhouse about eventually brawling the Mets despite the fact that a pitch hasn't been thrown with those two teams on the same field yet. Now we have the Rays and Yanks already fighting two weeks into March. It's going to be an entertaining year. favorite quote concerning the Yanks-Rays brouhaha has to be this one from Troy Percival: "There's no room in baseball for that kind of stuff. Ty Cobb's been gone a long time." It's good to see Ty Cobb hating is still alive and well in players, keeping up the traditions of Babe Ruth ("Ty Cobb is a prick, but he's a prick who sure can hit.") and one of the Black Sox in Field of Dreams ("Ty Cobb wanted to play here, but none of us could stand the son-of-a-bitch when we were alive so we told him to stick it.").

Here's to Shelley Duncan keeping Ty Cobb style of baseball alive and kicking.

"C is for Cobb
Who grew spikes and not corn,
And made all the basemen
Wish they weren't born."
-Ogden Nash, "Line-Up for Yesterday"

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Update from last post

Out of the large number of Mets listed in the last post as being injured, several returned to the lineup today. The biggest surprise was Ryan Church, returning from the Grade 2 concussion he suffered in his collision last weekend. Church looked good, ripping two line-drive singles to right in his only 2 at-bats. Also returning to the lineup for the game against the Marlins were Brian Schneider, Damion Easley, and Endy Chavez. This was a split-squad game, and on the other squad which traveled to face the Baltimore Orioles, Marlon Anderson made his return to the lineup.

Duaner Sanchez is also scheduled to pitch for the first time in 8 days in the game against the Marlins, though he hasn't entered the game yet as of now.

Beltran, Castillo, and Delgado continue to sit out. Reports on Beltran and Castillo sound like they could appear in a game any day now. Delgado has taken batting practice and reported no pain.

Moises Alou will definitely miss the beginning of the regular season. Orlando Hernandez has finally thrown a bit down in Florida, but there is no definite timetable for his first appearence in a game.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No Surprise from Alou; Mets' team injury recap

The first poll on this blog asked readers to choose which Mets player would be most seriously injured this season. By a large margin, readers selected "Moises Alou, just by being Moises Alou." Those people are off to an early lead, as today it was learned that Alou will miss 4-6 weeks following surgery for a hernia.

How exactly did Alou get a hernia? From all that heavy lifting he does in his life? The bat and ball are really heavy.... Every Spring Training game he has played so far, I've yelled at the tv screen for Alou to just walk to any balls hit to left and allow the batter to get an inside the park homerun in order to avoid injuring his legs. I don't know what he could have done to cause this hernia, or possibly could've done to prevent it. What a disaster.

So, to recap for people, the Mets regular starters in the outfield (Ryan Church, Carlos Beltran, and Moises Alou) are all injured. Their primary back-up outfielder (Endy Chavez) is injured. Their starting catcher (Brian Schneider) is injured. Their first baseman (Carlos Delgado) and both of his backups (Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson, both of whom are also backup outfielders and backup utility infielders) are injured. Their second baseman (Luis Castillo) is injured, along with both of his backups already named and also the person who would come 4th on the depth chart at second base (Jose Valentin). So out of the Mets 8 position-player regulars, only David Wright and Jose Reyes are uninjured at this time (though Reyes did take a couple days off after awkwardly fouling a ball off his own knee). What a great start...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mets reserves on a roll...I guess...

The Mets have won 2 in a row. Win tomorrow, and that's our first winning streak of the season.

...Yes, I know it's only Spring Training. But I spent over two hours tonight in East Rutherford watching the Nets play like crap against the Spurs. So Mets' reserves are really all I have in sports right now (though I appreciate that the Colorado Avalanche, my favorite hockey team, are apparently putting the band back together from their 2001 team by recently re-acquiring Peter Forsberg and Adam Foote).

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Church and Anderson collide

Crap!! Ryan Church and Marlon Anderson just collided going for a flyball in shallow right. It was nowhere near as horrifying as the Beltran-Cameron collision. It looked like Church's head collided with Anderson's chest or chin. Church probably has a concussion, I would guess. Anderson took longer to get up. Obviously, they both came out of the game. A serious injury to either would hurt the Mets badly.

The Mets are currently tied 0-0 with the Dodgers, but the Dodgers have the bases loaded with 2 outs, with Pedro Feliciano on the mound.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reason to Dislike Steinbrenner #238

Talking about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, if you ever get unlucky (lucky? not really) enough to make one of those wishes, beware of George "Who-Gives-A-Crap-About-Kids-With-Cancer?" Steinbrenner. In 1998, I wished to go meet the Yankees and I was supposed to go onto the field and get to hobnob with the the team during batting practice, but George Steinbrenner showed up at the stadium and put an end to that. Apparently he doesn't like anything "distracting" his players before a game. The Make-A-Wish Foundation worked on their feet quickly, though, so I did still get to sneakily stand outside the clubhouse and get a picture with any players coming in and out, but I'll always hold a grudge again George.

Besides for that, though, the day was awesome. We got tickets about halfway up the stands right behind the plate, plus they paid for us to go out to dinner at "Mickey Mantle's" after the game (which is an incredible restaurant filled to the brim with Yankee memorabilia). The game was against the White Sox and the Yanks won 6-3, thanks to homeruns by Posada and Bernie. Okay, I didn't actually remember the score off the top of my head...I had to go look up the box score on Retrosheet. If you're curious and want to look it up too, the date was July 26th, 1998. But I did remember those two homeruns, especially the one by Bernie since he was my favorite player at the time (and still is to this day).

I suppose times may be changing with George Steinbrenner stepping down and leaving the ballclub in the hands of his sons, but I think the best bet is to ask to meet specific players like Sean Clayton did today. I think any player would be honored to be someone's Make-A-Wish, so you would probably be spoiled quite a bit. Although I really cannot complain at all because that day worked out beautifully. I still got to meet Bernie and O'Neill, which was enough right there to make that the best day of my life. Looking back now, I wish I'd run into Torre as well, but oh can't have everything. Maybe when I go home this summer I'll scan pictures from that day and put them up here. They're definitely really amusing, especially my one with Chuck Knoblauch. Even in the 5th grade, I was taller than him...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mets vs. Michigan, and Proof there are good guys in baseball even in the steroid era

The Mets took on the Univesity of Michigan baseball team today in an exhibition game. In between classes, I was able to listen to innings 6, 7, and 8 via the online broadcast. I actually had to leave for an afternoon class right after Michigan took the lead on a deep 2-run homer. With the Mets having removed all their regulars (and even primary backups having left the game by that point), my hopes weren't high for a comeback. I returned from class to learn that Michel Abreu had hit a game-tying 2-run shot to center field with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. This will likely be Michel Abreu's only appearance on this blog, so I'm officially declaring February 26, 2008 "Michel Abreu Day." The game ended in a tie, since the Mets ran out of pitchers scheduled to throw today. While I was furious at the declaration of a tie in the All-Star Game in Milwaukee a few years ago, I didn't mind this one. My favorite moment of the game, which I didn't get to hear because it was in the bottom of the 9th, had to be 3rd Base Coach Sandy Alomar Sr. apparently going ballistic over Abreu's shot originally being ruled a double. As I wrote a couple days ago, I'm looking for some real fire on the Mets this year. If that passion starts with Sandy Alomar Sr., so be it. Whoever it takes.

Second best moment of today was definitely David Wright homering on the first pitch he saw in the first inning. As Steve noted in an earlier post, I have what some would categorize as a man-crush on Wright. Heck, why not? The guy is a great player, with the proper attitude toward the game.

Also, my sympathy to Aaron Heilman. As a proud Notre Dame alum, it must have been particularly hard on Heilman having given up a run to the Wolverines today.

Tomorrow is the first official Spring Training game for the Mets, as they take on the Tigers at 1:05. I will be listening on MLB Audio. I haven't ordered yet, but probably will soon. Mike Pelfrey will start on the mound for the Mets.


This is just another item from baseball I wanted to note today. As part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Roy Halladay today provided a 13-year old cancer survivor with a wonderful day. I always enjoy the Make-A-Wish Foundation segments when they're shown on ESPN and when I see stories about them online. Many people view Major Leaguers as a bunch of selfish [due to huge contracts] criminals [due to steroid and HGH use], but: A) I truly believe that performance-enhancing drug users are a minority in MLB, no matter what Jose Canseco and others say; and B) A lot of the players in MLB honestly enjoy giving back to their fans when they can. Doc Halladay has always struck me as a good guy when I've seen interviews with him and such, and I'm thrilled for young Sean Clayton for achieving his dream by meeting the Blue Jays' Cy Young-winning ace.

I know Sean Casey (now of the Red Sox) has consistently been voted the nicest player in MLB by the players. I wonder who all of you think of when you think of baseball players who are truly decent human beings? Tell me your thoughts on this in the comments.

Rookie Ball: Why are baseball fans such stats freaks?

Okay, that's not a very fair question. Not all baseball fans are obsessed with statistics, but if you've ever watched or listened to a baseball game, you know what I'm talking about. Baseball commentators use an inane amount of stats during their broadcasts, which can make it very tough for anyone trying to pick up baseball to understand what the hell is going on.

"Tejada is batting just .350 over the course of the last 10 games, plus he's also posting career highs with a .388 OBP this season. And just looks at all those 107 RBIs and 35 HRs...this guy is seriously raking it!"
"Good point there Chuck, but he is facing Roy Oswalt, who's got a career 10-2 record and 2.01 ERA in the month of August. Righties also only have a .211 OBP against him, so Tejada is going to have a tough shot getting on base."
"Ahh, right you are Bob."

If you happen to know what all of those statistics mean, then good for you! If you don't however, have no fear - that only means that you're probably normal, an unfortunate turn of events that I'm going to do my best to remedy.

To begin with, let's talk about why statistics are used in sports, period. Basically, they provide an objective means of measuring players and determining if one player is better than another. Duh, right? It seems obvious...if a player puts up good numbers, then they're better than someone who doesn't. The trick is, what statistics do you use to determine a player's worth? Also, can a player really be reduced to statistics? That last question is actually the center of a very big controversy in baseball at the moment and it would take way too long to get into, so let's focus on the first question for now: what stats are the most important? Well, here are the basics that every baseball fan worth their salt should know...


Runs (R): the amount of times that player scored a run themselves.
Homeruns (HR): the amount of homeruns the player hit.
Runs Batted In (RBIs): the amount of runs a player hit home.
Stolen Bases (SBs): when a pitcher is throwing the ball, runners on base are allowed to attempt to run and "steal" the next base. They have to be pretty damn fast and good not to get caught, but it is possible.
Batting Average (BA): the amount of hits a player has divided by their total number of at bats. This is normally rounded off at three decimal places.
On-Base Percentage (OBP): How often a player gets on base, either by getting a hit or drawing a walk. This differs from batting average because OBP includes walks, while a players batting average simply measures hits.


Wins (W): when a pitcher starts a game and leaves the game with his team ahead, he qualifies for a win. If his team wins that game without ever relinquishing that lead or letting the other team tie the game, he gets a win.
Loss (L): However, if a pitcher leaves the game with his team losing, his team never ties the game, and then his team loses, he gets a loss.
Saves (SV): If a pitcher comes in with his team ahead and finishes the game, he can qualify for "saving" the game if he enters the game when his team is up by three runs or less.
Strikeouts (K): However many players a pitcher has struck out. You'll see this number represented by a K or sometimes a backwards K (this is for if a player struck out without swinging at the last pitch).
Earned Run Average (ERA): This statistic represents the number of runs that a pitcher would let up on average if they were to pitch an entire 9 inning game.
Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched (WHIP): The average number of baserunners that a pitcher lets on base per inning.

These are the most basic statistics out there and the most common ones in use by far. For a full list of baseball statistics, if you're curious, just check out this. Be warned, though, prolonged thinking has been known to lead to spontaneous combustion, so watch out how long you puzzle over all of those. If you want to know enough basic information to successfully watch a baseball game, those are the numbers you need to know.

Now, why are these numbers significant? How accurate do they actually predict performace on the field? These answers and more coming up!


Edit by Joe Cook: In order for a starting pitcher to qualify for a win, he must have pitched at least five full innings, leave with the lead, and have his team hold the lead for the remainder of the game. (E.g. Johan Santana pitches 6 innings for the Mets, and leaves with a 3-2 lead. However, in the 8th inning, the Braves tie the game. This disqualifies Johan Santana from the win, even though he is not the pitcher who gives up the lead.)

Also, a relief pitcher receives a win if he recorded the last out prior to the half-inning in which his team takes a lead which they do not then relinquish at any point. (E.g. Aaron Heilman comes in and pitches the top of the 8th inning for the Mets. When he enters the game, the game is tied 3-3. He records the three outs for the inning, and in the bottom of the 8th inning the Mets score to take a 4-3 lead. The Mets hold the lead for the rest of the game, and so Aaron Heilman gets the win.)

The final way in which a pitcher qualifies for a win is in a situation in which the starting pitcher leaves the game before completing 5 innings (for injury or any other reason). In this case, if the pitcher's team is leading when he leaves, and they lead in the score throughout the rest of the game, it is up to the official scorer to determine which subsequent pitcher had the largest impact on the game, and that pitcher receives credit for the win. E.g. Orlando Hernandez starts the game for the Mets. In the 4th inning, with the Mets winning 7-1, Hernandez is injured and leaves the game. Joe Smith enters for the Mets, and pitches 3 innings in relief without giving up a run. Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner each pitch an inning after that to finish the game. The Official Scorer would likely credit Joe Smith for the win in this situation. This is, by far, the most confusing of all scenarios.

Edit #2 by Joe Cook: As I continue to look through this post, my disappointment in Steve is growing (just kidding; I know he tried to make things very simple here). This addition is to the Saves section. Steve gave the most traditional, and most common, definition of how to record a save. However, in a couple of strange technicalities, there are other ways in which pitchers can record a save. For one, the pitcher is not required to pitch all of the 9th inning. However, a pitcher cannot come in with 2 outs in the 9th inning with nobody on base and get a save by recording the final out. If a relief pitcher comes into the game, and finishes the game without relinquishing the lead, he receives credit for a save if his team was leading by 3 runs or less when he came in. If there are already outs in the 9th inning when the pitcher comes into the game, he receives a save only if his team wins by one or two runs, unless runners are on base when he enters the game in the 9th inning creating a situation in which the tying run is on deck when he enters. (See now why Steve tried to keep this so simple?)
A relief pitcher can also record a save if he enters the game to start the 7th inning with his team leading, and finishes the game without giving up the lead. This 3-inning-save rule does not take into account how many runs the team is leading by. E.g. The Mets are winning 16-4 at the end of the 6th inning. Jorge Sosa enters the game as the Mets new pitcher to start the 7th inning. He pitches the remainder of the game, in which the Mets hold on to win 16-14. Jorge Sosa records a save for having successfully pitched the final 3 innings without losing the lead. Confusing, right?